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Communicating with Your Boss and Getting What You Both Want

Communicating with upper management is one of the greatest challenges as a team member. It often is the root of anxiety and stress that makes many people give up and give in. In today’s workplace, employees’ input and feedback are critical to an organization’s success. It’s easy to try once and give up when an idea or suggestion isn’t accepted by an employer so practice your pitch. An article from states, “Hopefully your manager is receptive to developing a relationship; however make sure you are continuing to put in the effort.” Not all managers are as open-minded as others, and some may be difficult to approach as an employee. Figuring out the right approach, as well as being persistent, lead to a more successful and productive relationship. Here are 5 tips from our Vital Learning course, Communicating Up to increase the chance that management will accept your recommendations:

  1. Adapt to a style that fits your manager’s communication preferences.

  2. Deliver information in the medium preferred by a manager: in-person, e-mail, on paper. This can change depending on the type of information being provided, but it’s important to understand their preference.

  3. Consider the amount of detail from high-level overviews to granular details.

  4. Identify how often the manager wants to be updated and again, with how much information.

  5. Be proactive. Be prepared to follow through with the recommendations; offer two or three good solutions with pros and cons of each.

This approach will create a more streamlined communication process, as well as improve the relationship between you and your boss. And remember, you aren’t always going to get things your way, so celebrate the small successes along the way.

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